Nicholas Taiaroa Stevens was found this morning.
Hamilton Police finally announced yesterday that he was missing, earlier today his father issued a desperate plea for information and assistance with the search for Nicholas.
The volunteers who run the Hamilton Homeless Trust pointed out that Nicky wasn't homeless, but he was greatly loved by all who knew him, they've been raising awareness that he's missing for days on social media etc, and asking for information.
This message is shared from Nicky's dad - Dave Macpherson - with great sadness.
"Sadly, we have to tell you that our youngest son Nicholas (Nicky) has passed away.
He was found dead in the Waikato River this morning.
We have just seen him, and he looks very peaceful. He had some tortured times recently, but one consolation is that these are now over for him.
We want to thank the many, many people – family, friends, old schoolmates and others that have reached out to us in the last couple of days with messages of support and hope – Nick had a LOT of friends who wanted him to stay with us and to be well; sadly that won’t be the case, but we know he will be missed.
We want to also say that Nicky’s death was preventable on this occasion, and when we have had time to grieve as a family, we will be taking this up with the medical authorities who have failed to properly exercise their duty of care over Nicky.Nicky was just 21. Hey was born in the town where I live.
We ask you to respect our privacy in the short term, and we will advise future arrangements for Nicky.
Dave and Jane"
In light of the recent report from the IPCA regarding the manner in which Police treated a woman suffering from a mental health condition who was sexually assaulted by a hospital security guard, who then went on to sexually assault a second woman because Police did absolutely nothing about the first complaint, and the evidence of other serious problems regarding the treatment of mental health patients in Aotearoa New Zealand, it's clear that Nicky Tairoa Stevens is not the only one who's been let down.
Nicholas Ward Harris was killed in a prison cell after he was arrested, for being homeless in Hamilton basically. It's not just Police, it's prison staff, mental health professionals, the so called justice system and the Courts, vulnerable people are being let down right across the board, while the meagre, taxpayer funded resources that are supposed to be spent treating, helping, supporting people who genuinely need care, are instead being spent on corrupt persecutory vendettas.
Kia Ora whanau - as I have posted all week re Nicky - I would like to inform you of a public statement made by Nicky's whanau - I would also like to acknowledge the whanau for what they have gone through and are going through at this time , Nga mihi Alvina, Hamilton Homeless Trust.
Shortly after Nicky died his family began to speak up about what was happening to them, and they're co-ordinating discussion and constructive action among others who've been treated the same way and other human beings with basic empathy.
Nicholas Taiaroa Macpherson Stevens, 26.4.93 – 9.3.15
A Preventable Death
The Victim of Medical and Bureaucratic Malpractice
Public Statement by his parents Jane and Dave, and brother Tony.
Our family completely rejects a Waikato Hospital’s sham ‘investigation’, and calls for Hospital authorities to be held accountable by an independent investigation.
Our son’s death was preventable, had proper and common sense procedures been followed.
The day following the discovery of our son’s body in the Waikato River, our family received an email letter from the Waikato Hospital Manager stating the Hospital was going to conduct a 70-day internal investigation into the “service and care delivery issues” that the family had raised BEFORE Nicholas’ body was discovered.
A mid-level manager of the Hospital was to conduct the ‘investigation’ – and the family was not asked for input into the personnel or brief for the investigation, and was told in the letter it would be offered “an opportunity to meet and discuss the findings following “ its completion.
We will not participate in such a sham ‘investigation’.
We demand a complete, independent investigation run totally outside Waikato Hospital, where the family has opportunity for input at all stages. Waikato Hospital should initiate and pay for this.
The Hospital letter also refused us access at this point to documents showing communication between the Hospital and Police following the discovery that Nicholas had gone missing.
FACTS ABOUT NICHOLAS’ CARE AT WAIKATO HOSPITAL
Nicholas was in Hospital under a compulsory care order under the Mental Health Act. He was admitted less than 3 weeks before his death after trying to commit suicide, requiring several hours of urgent surgery – which the family was not told about for several days.
Against strong and repeated opposition from the family, Waikato Hospital granted Nicholas ‘unescorted leave’ from the Hospital grounds.
The family warned Waikato Hospital staff and management on a number of occasions that Nicholas was in high danger of harming himself again.
He had described to family members and friends two other suicide attempts while in Hospital on ‘unescorted leave’ – these had been passed on both to Ward staff and to management.
Hospital authorities chose not only to ignore our opposition to ‘unescorted leave’, but planned to extend it on the very day he disappeared.
When he disappeared, he was on his second period of unescorted leave in less than 2 hours. Nicholas’ care Management Plan stated that leave was for a maximum of 15 minutes – it seems he was absent for at least 90 minutes before he was discovered missing.
He was only discovered missing when friends came to see him and he couldn’t be found.
CCTV footage of the Henry Bennett Centre entrance and lobby show Nicholas being in the vicinity, going in and out of the door for a period well after his leave period ought to have expired.
There is no (active) system of keeping records as to when patients in the Henry Bennett Centre go on leave, escorted or unescorted, or when visitors enter or leave the Wards.
Nicholas’ situation is not the first instance like this at Waikato Hospital.
Had Nicholas been on escorted leave, as his family stated was the only safe option at that time, he would almost certainly have been alive today.
Failing that, had his leave maximum period of 15 minutes been adhered to, and staff been sent to look for him, again Nicholas would almost certainly have been alive today.
It is for these and other reasons that we assert malpractice on the Hospital’s part.
When he was discovered missing, Police tell us that the missing notice received by Hamilton Police from the Hospital did not mention anything about a suicide alert, or any danger to his health.
Police therefore did not accord the report any high priority, and in fact did not even contact the family until almost two days after Nicholas’ disappearance – despite us lodging with their website missing person’s report system (we could not get to speak to ANY officer) our extreme concerns about his safety.
We were finally contacted by Police AFTER we sent emails of complaint to the Minister of Police, the Police Commissioner and the District Commander of Police. They have claimed that timing is a coincidence.
We believe the Police should be far more proactive when first receiving ANY such missing persons reports – this is not the first case where very prompt action may have prevented a disaster.
We stress however that in no way do we blame the Police for what has happened, and we would like to especially thank Det Stephen Stokes for the sympathy and support he has shown us.
The farewell service for Nicholas will be held at the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion, at 11am on Wednesday 18th March.
Dave Macpherson, Jane Stevens, Tony Macpherson-Stevens
021-477 388 firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no "compulsory care order" under the Mental Health Act.
There is a Compulsory Treatment Order though. It's under Part 2 of the Mental Health Act, from section 17, section 28 states this:
Every compulsory treatment order shall be either—Section 31 establishes the Responsible Clinician as the person responsible for granting leave. Certain so called responsible clinicians are extremely irresponsible indeed. It hasn't been established who is culpable for the death of Nicholas Taiaroa Macpherson Stevens yet, but questions have most certainly been raised - the unacceptable thing is, that they were raised a long time ago, they've been repeatedly raised for a very long time. Nothing was done about it.
(a) a community treatment order; or
(b) an inpatient order,—
- and on making a compulsory treatment order the court shall specify the kind of order it is.
Dave Macpherson said the family had written to the hospital at least 12 times before and after Stevens went missing, expressing "real concerns" about his care.
"What we're saying to the hospital is 'we've done the complaints, you didn't respond, and it's too late for an internal investigation'," he said.
The family wants Waikato DHB to call in the Health and Disability Commissioner or a similar independent body to head the investigation and wish to be consulted on the inquiry's brief.
Since Stevens' death, David Macpherson had been contacted by members of the public expressing concern about the care their family members had received at Waikato Hospital.
"We're more familiar with bureaucracies and systems than most people and we still couldn't make it work for our son. What hope have people got without our backgrounds?"
In recent weeks the stain of Nicky's death has spread and darkened.
Jane, Dave and Tony are speaking up and calling for accountability, and being opposed and hindered by a system that is seriously dysfunctional now, due to the years and years of erosion of integrity, competent management and governance, and basic humanity, logic and fairness.
The Health and Disability Commissioner is in the business of 'resolving' complaints by employing strategies of 'damage control' - minimising complaints and fabricating excuses for the perpetrators instead of removing them from the system and forcing them to get a job in the real world - if they can.